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Maori Party Leaders" Statement On Charges

Maori Party Statement on Terrorism Suppression Charges

Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Co-leaders of the Maori Party

Monday 29 October 2007

The Maori Party has today responded to the police announcement that evidence has been referred to the Solicitor-General for consideration as to whether consent will be given for them to lay charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

“We have always said that we will reserve the right to comment when the final outcome of this operation is revealed” said Mrs Turia. “Until the evidence has been revealed and the charges known, we are inevitably unable to comment”.

“It is one thing to wait on the outcome of this action – and quite another, to reflect on the process of getting to this point” said Mrs Turia. “Our ongoing concern in speaking out throughout the last fortnight has been for due process to occur”.

“We stand by our responsibility to our constituency, to speak up and make known the traumatic impact that various stages of the operation have had on community well-being” said Mrs Turia.

"It is our contention that evidence could have been collected in a much less frightening and disruptive way to families and the wider public, and in a manner consistent with due legal process".

“I am interested that the police statement suggests that the operation terminated on 15th October 2007, and yet we have received other reports that raids are continuing, including one just last Friday on Te Whare Oranga Wairua Maori Women Refuge in Taupo” said Dr Sharples

“Such is the level of anxiety amongst the community, that there has been widespread concern about the seeming scatter-gun approach of these raids. It will obviously be a comfort to know that the operation has now terminated” said Dr Sharples.

“We do question how it can be that while the Act determines that ‘no proceedings for any offence against this Act may be instituted in any court except with the consent of the Attorney-General’; the Police were broadly referring to the concept of terrorism from the very first press conference on the 15th October”.

“We would have thought it in the community’s best interest for the use of the word terrorism not to be lightly bandied around, until due process had been followed, and the Attorney-General’s consent obtained” said Dr Sharples.

“These last two weeks have been gruelling for many New Zealand families and individuals, particularly those from the Tuhoe Nation who were caught in the road blockades erected on the confiscation line” ended Mrs Turia.

ends


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